Senate Judiciary Committee members introduced a bipartisan bill on Monday to ensure that the special counsel reports are made public.
President Donald Trump and some of his former associates have been at the center of a federal investigation since it was launched in May 2017.
Special counsel Robert Mueller (shown above center) is looking into whether the president or his associates colluded with Russian interests to influence the presidential election of 2016.
When it concludes its investigation, the special counsel team will submit a report to the Department of Justice. But the American public and congressional lawmakers are likely to get a revised version of that report.
Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)(above right) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa)(above left) introduced their bill to ensure that the report and any future ones are made available.
“Our legislation would guarantee that every special counsel does a report complete with findings and evidence,” Blumenthal said in a statement. “And that it be directly disclosed to Congress and the American people. A report would be required whenever a special counsel finishes the investigation, is fired, or resigns, assuring that the results cannot be sealed or selectively censored.”
The Special Counsel Transparency Act requires a special counsel to submit a report directly to Congress and the public within two weeks of concluding its investigation.
The special counsel still would be required to file a report if he or she is fired, transferred or resign. The report must include all factual findings and underlying evidence.
“Congress and the American people have a right to know how their government conducts business and spends tax dollars,” Grassley said in a statement about the measure. “This bipartisan legislation ensures that Congress and the American people have oversight of and insight into activities and findings of special counsel investigations under any administration.”
Grassley said he was also encouraged to hear attorney general nominee William Barr prioritize transparency when asked about the special counsel report at his confirmation hearing.
Blumenthal asked him on January 15 about not getting the original report and whether he would come back to explain what was taken out.
The special counsel team has faced scrutiny over how it’s handled the investigation into Russian collusion. The team has gone after people for unrelated criminal allegations and even had agents removed for showing a severe hatred toward the president.
Trump and his lawyers have attacked the special counsel team as a “biased witch hunt” against the president.
Trump has repeatedly said he doesn’t plan to end the special counsel probe despite his own issues with it.
Lawmakers have sought to ensure the investigations are able to finish. The Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act was reintroduced earlier in January to protect the special counsel investigation from the president.
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